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18th Century Inn

115 Log Cabin Rd, Newville, PA 17241-9496
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Like many people during this time of high gas prices, my wife and I were looking for a quick getaway close to home. I found the 18th Century Inn, near Newville, Pa., online. It’s only 40 miles from our home in Harrisburg, Pa. We took a route that went through the historic town of Carlisle, where we had a delicious lunch at the Back Door Café at 156 W. High Street, right next to the town library and campus of Dickinson College. Try their wraps and quesadillas. You can bring your own wine, too. After a few more miles through small towns and beautiful farmland, we arrived at the Inn. You get a tantalizing glimpse from the road as you drive down the gravel lane. The inn is a re-constructed 18th century log house, with bricks and chinking between the logs, a steeply pitched roof with wooden shingles and dormers. Tamela, the innkeeper, had opened the house and turned on the lights to welcome us. She gave us a few instructions about where to find extra towels and so forth, and after a nice chat, she went back to her home next door. After that, we had the whole place to ourselves until the next morning. The house is very beautiful, with wooden walls painted in faded colors or plaster whitewashed walls, old wooden floors, and brick flooring in the kitchen. Antique hardware is found on the doors, several of which are painted with folk art on the panels. Downstairs, there is a large dining room and fireplace with a wood pellet stove inserted; a living room furnished with comfortable modern but tasteful seating and another fireplace; and a fully equipped kitchen. Tall people should be careful as some of the doorways are low. The refrigerator was stocked with milk, juices, bread, and other staples, along with a delicious cut-up cantaloupe and a ham and cheese quiche ready for heating in the morning. On the kitchen table, waiting for us, was a pitcher of mint tea and delicious chocolate cookies. A beautiful folk art mural is found on the wall as you climb the stairs (which have those wonderful old pie-wedge steps as they turn near the top) to a hallway the length of the house. There is found a beautifully-painted blanket chest with -- you guessed it, extra blankets -- and a chaise longue to lie on in case you are tuckered out from the stairs. The two bedrooms were furnished with a beautiful mix of black painted beds and chests of drawers and some antique pieces, too. The beds were made up with very luxurious bed linens -- you know them when you feel them -- and were quite comfortable. (It was a little hard to read in bed since the only lighting in the room is from a small chandelier in the middle of the room, so if reading in bed is a must for you, be sure to take one of those little clip-on reading lights.) All of the decorations are appropriate for an 18th century house. If you love Americana and folk art, you will appreciate every piece here. Outside, there is a lovely front yard with a flower garden up against the fence. In the rear yard is a wonderful swimming pool! Comfortable lawn furniture allowed for sunbathing with an occasional dip in this beautiful private setting. The yard is surrounded by a picket fence and many trees. I had not been in a pool for over 30 years (due to sensitivity to sunlight) but enjoyed immensely an after-dark swim. I had forgotten what buoyancy felt like! If you’d like to grill, you will find a grill in the back yard and plenty of charcoal in the carriage house, where there are also some bikes for you to ride on nearby bike trails. The carriage house is in itself a delightful recreation of a historical building. Look closely at the date stone on the front. In the early evening, we had friends stop by to see the place and enjoy some sandwiches from the Pizza Express in Newville. This place was recommended by the innkeeper, and she was right – the food was delicious and not expensive. It’s a short drive into town, so call ahead and your order will be waiting. A notebook with recommended restaurants is found in the living room, along with information on attractions in the area. In the Great Hall there is a cabinet with books and games. In the morning, we enjoyed the beautiful tiled shower with a seat and great swivel shower head -- placed up high enough for a tall person to be able to get under it! You’d be surprised how many places have showers where we tall guys have to bend in half to get our hair wet. Then we headed down to the kitchen, where we heated the quiche (caution if you are on a low salt diet), poured the orange juice, brewed some coffee, and enjoyed the cantaloupe. We used both the Spode and Wedgewood china that had historic patterns on them. It was fun “playing house” in this delightful place. I recommend it highly if you like the idea of having a very private place all to yourself. Since the innkeeper lives next door but out of sight, and since there are no other guests in the log house, there will not be much interaction with other people. I have only two suggestions. First, guests should be advised that there is no telephone in the house and that they should bring cell phones for emergency calls. Second, the steps up to the front door are high and were a bit difficult for us to mount (we are in our early 60s). A handrail would be helpful, or a third step could be added. The backdoor steps were easier. In spite of those last two items, I would recommend the 18th Century Inn to anyone. If you like the magazines Early American Life or Country Living, you’ll love this place. After leaving, we drove to nearby Meadowbrooke Gourd Farm, where we saw tons of recently harvested gourds waiting to be dried, carved, painted, and finished into fanciful decorations and bird houses. It’s worth a visit. We want to go back when they have an open house and you can watch the workers creating their products. The last part of this mini-vacation was a drive through the fruit orchards of Adams County to see the new visitor center at the Gettysburg National Military Park and enjoy dinner with old friends.
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